Why You Should Write an Outline for your Research Paper


The key to an absorbing research paper is outlining the topics and points you want to discuss before your actual writing. An outline will help you create and organize ideas in sequential order and studious flow. Doing that will allow you to find pertinent information and quotes from sources well in advance. This will give you a strong foundation and planning when you start the writing process.

Best of all, creating these ideas will help you come up with your thesis.

The benefits of a paper outline extend further beyond the paper itself. If you have followed your outline completely, the editing process will be much easier. Here is a run-through of the seven top benefits of a research paper outline.

Optimal order of text

Instructors across the world have different feelings regarding the research paper flow. Most suggest that it is best to place your strongest argument first and then move to the less vital points. Your outline can allow you to see whether you have presented your facts in the best order of impact.

With the different types of essays, an expository essay is conceivably, the most orderly. It requires a writer to examine an idea, explore the evidence, elaborate on the main point before expressing their argument logically. An expository essay is a type of paper that must follow a precise and logical order, and that’s why it is important to use an expository essay outline template when creating a draft for your paper.

Help identify weaknesses in an argument

An outline breaks down content into its main points and supporting facts. Therefore, as you create a summary of a proposed research paper, it may help you identify weaknesses in your argument. You may note that you don’t have a supporting fact for a central point, or the support you have suggested is not strong enough.

In addition, an outline can help identify disorganized points. For instance, it can help you point out a supporting idea in the fourth paragraph that you could have used in the second paragraph.

Clarify thoughts and generate ideas

A blank page can be discouraging. However, a descriptive outline can help you overcome any writer’s barrier when writing your research paper.

So, what is a descriptive outline? A descriptive outline is a tool you can use to assess how well you implemented your plan after creating your draft. It is also a brainstorming tool that allows you to build your thoughts and understand what you want to write.

An outline can as well help you to clarify your thoughts. What might start as a general idea can become a particular argument with supporting facts as you organize your ideas and structure before writing the actual content.

Organize ideas to remain focused

If you write a paper without an outline, it is easy to become imprecise. Your supporting points may be misplaced or missing, and the argument might turn on a tangent. That may include personal anecdotes or information related to the topic but doesn’t support the idea.

When you write an outline, it helps you ensure that your writing remains on target while helping you organize your ideas so that they make the most impact. For instance, it might be vital to include a solid supporting fact to grab the reader’s attention right at the beginning. Alternatively, you might find that a strong point is best placed to the end so the paper can end excitingly.

Save time

An outline can generate a step-by-step guide that makes the actual writing easier while saving time. After creating your outline, you can use it to write each paragraph of your paper. You can, in addition, use sentences from the draft to fill in the gap for each paragraph and the supporting facts.

Once the outline is complete, the actual task will mainly involve expanding and connecting the ideas to make sure they flow from one to the next. So, before you begin the actual writing process, make sure you have worked out any issues with the argument and the structure. That way, you will avoid wasting time revising a paper that is weak or out of target.

More concise writing

Your outline will help you attain concision, which is one of the most important writing goals. When you use five words when two can do, it has no benefit to you as a writer. However, when you maintain clarity and concision, the reader will receive your message well, rather than getting lost in a block of trivia words or digressive discussion topics.   

Outline your thought today

An outline may look like an overwhelming and time-consuming task, but it generates less work for you in the actual move of writing your research paper. Your thoughts will flow more smoothly and in a more logical manner. Most importantly, if done sensibly, a resourceful outline will even ease the editing process.

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